International Judo Federation (IJF) has canceled all Olympic qualification events through to the end of April because of the global coronavirus epidemic, saying it was of utmost importance to keep athletes safe as travel has become increasingly risky.
A statement from the governing body described the move as “drastic” but said that the situation was “dangerous and critical”.
All qualifiers up to April 30, including the Yekaterinburg Grand Slam in Russia, which was due to be held on March 13-15, the Grand Prix events in Tbilisi, Georgia, scheduled for March 27-29, and in Antalya, Turkey, supposed to be held on April 3-5, have been cancelled, the federation said in a statement.
“Unfortunately the situation is now dangerous and critical from many points of view,” the federation said.
“It is of paramount importance to keep the judo family safe in these difficult times, and also to ensure fair chances for all athletes engaged in the Olympic qualification,” they added.
The IJF said it would release more information in the upcoming days regarding the cancellation.